The Inside Track | Issue #119 | February 16, 2024

140 VLTS

ASD Hours

  • Open daily from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • VLT machines are sanitized between use

2024 Live Race Dates

  • Monday, May 20 to Tuesday, September 17 - click here for schedule

In this edition . . .

  • What's happening at the Downs?
  • There's always a Deal at ASD!
  • Gary Danelson Inducted Into MCHF
  • The Gentleman Horse
  • 2024 Shipping Incentive Program
  • Date Night by Tim Cox
  • TravyFootball Super Bowl LVIII Recap
  • Road to Kentucky Derby 150
  • Looking For a Special Photo?
  • Carryover Watch
  • Off-Track Betting Locations
  • "I Won Bigg" Wagering Group
  • A Snapshot In Time: Jumpin Jennie
  • Dark Horse Bets Download
  • Risen Star Stakes Cheat Sheet
  • Stronghold Favoured in Sunland Derby
  • No More Time Wires Field in Sam F. Davis
  • Steve Haskin's Derby Rankings Week 4
  • The Best of Bob - Clarence Marzolf
  • Upcoming Events
Do the Downs!

Upcoming Handicapping Tournaments

Player's Choice Tournaments:

  • This Saturday, February 17
  • Saturday, March 16
  • Saturday, April 13
  • Saturday, May 11

Tournament Winners:

  • Player's Choice - Saturday, January 20 - Winner: Ron Phelps

Club West Gaming Lounge

140 VLTs are available daily in our spacious Club West Gaming Lounge from 10 a.m. through 1 a.m. Enjoy complimentary coffee or tea. We also have fantastic deals on daily drink specials, happy hour specials, daily lunch and nightly food features. Please note that our VLTs are sanitized between play.

Free daily draws take place for your chance to win cash!

  • Break Open Bonanza! Draws to win $10 plus 20 break-open tickets! Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
  • Lucky Spins! Draws for $20 in FREE VLT Spins Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

There's Always a Deal at ASD!

$11.95 Daily Lunch Specials

Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks from our Club West Dining Room menu or try our ever changing $11.95 lunch special.

  • Club West Dining Room & Lounge menu
  • Daily Happy Hour specials

Daily Drink Features All Day Long

  • Monday - Margarita $6 (lime, peach or strawberry)
  • Tuesday - Corona $5
  • Wednesday - Wine $4.50 (6 oz. glass of house white or house red)
  • Thursday - Beer $4.75 (house pint of beer)
  • Friday - Trifecta Tea $6 (Absolut peach vodka, lemonade, sweet tea)
  • Saturday - RazDerby Lemonade $6 (Absolut raspberry vodka, lemonade)
  • Sunday - Caesar $6

Daily Evening Chef's Specials

Monday - BBQ Ribs $19.95: Smoky char-broiled ribs with our signature BBQ sauce. Served with french fries and coleslaw.

Tuesday - Tacos $9.95: Two flour tortillas stuffed with taco beef, chicken or fish, lettuce, green onions, cheese and diced tomato. Served with a drizzle of avocado cilantro lime sauce and taco chips.

Wednesday - Two Topping Pizza $14.95: Thin crust pizza with mozzarella and tomato sauce. Choose from pepperoni, bacon, ham, spicy beef, chicken, tomato, mushroom, peppers, black olives or onions.

Thursday - Chipotle Mozza Burger $14.95: Our signature sirloin patty and crispy bacon smothered in melted mozzarella. Topped with fresh sliced tomato, fried onion rings, chipotle mayo and sweet bold barbeque sauce.

Friday - Steak & Suds $24.95: 8 oz. Sirloin steak charbroiled and seasoned with our smoky dry rub. Served with fresh vegetables and a choice of mashed potatoes or french fries. Plus a complimentary pint of ASD Lucky Lager.

Saturday - Prime & Wine $29.95: Certified Angus Prime Rib (8 oz. cut.) Served with fresh vegetables and a choice of mashed potatoes or french fries, horseradish, and Yorkshire pudding au jus. Plus a complimentary 6 oz. glass of house wine.

Sunday - Fish & Chips $14.95: Two pieces of beer battered cod with tartar sauce and lemon. Served with french fries and coleslaw.

Reservations are not required. The above specials are available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Everyone who purchases one of the above specials will receive a coupon to play our free "Pick to Win" game in the VLT lounge for a chance to spin our lucky cash wheel where you can win up to $100 cash!

At The Post with G.S. Thompson

Gary Danelson Inducted into Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame

All-time leading trainer at Assiniboia Downs among 24 new inductees

Trainer Gary Danelson has been racing at Assiniboia Downs for seven decades. Originally from Scobey, Montana, ASD has been his home away from home, for a long, long time.

Gary Danelson, the all-time leading trainer at Assiniboia Downs, has been inducted into the prestigious Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame (MCHF). Danelson has spent over seven decades working with horses, and his induction into the Hall of Fame caps off an incredible career.

Danelson grew up on a farm near Scobey, Montana, learning about horses from his father Henry, who was also a trainer. He started riding horses and helping out at the racetrack as a teenager before becoming a trainer himself at just 22 years old.

In 1959, Danelson saddled his first winner at Assiniboia Downs, a $400 purchase named Coherence, and went on to win 24 races with him. An absolute master horseman with a knack for keeping a horse at its peak for long periods of time, Danelson excelled with repeat winners at every class level throughout his long career while compiling a record of 6,501-1,288-1,095-959 from 6,501 starts for purse earnings of $5,931,023.

Coherence wins for trainer Gary Danelson (holding horse) at Assiniboia Downs on August 29, 1959.

Danelson led the trainer standings at Assiniboia Downs in 1969, 1970, and 2003, training numerous champions and stakes winners including Smoky Cinder, Tadaa, Electric Fever, Smart Figure, Car Keys, Fancy Bru, and many more. He won the Gold Cup twice, the R.J. Speers Stakes five times, and the Victoria Day Stakes three times in a row with Electric Fever, among many more stakes wins.

But it wasn’t the big wins or winners that Danelson held closest to his heart, it was two game hard trying claimers. “I had a little gray mare named Pen Pal that I really liked,” said Danelson in a 2019 Winnipeg Free Press article. “She was a $2,000 or $2,500 claimer. She was docile and quiet and won quite a few races for me.

"And I had an old horse named Sal’s Imp. He’d hurt himself in a race, so I went to see what they wanted for him. They said $400-$600. I said I’d give them $200. A week later they said come and get your horse. I ran him 11 times and won seven races."

In the spring of 2023, Danelson was honoured with the Manitoba HBPA Award of Merit at the annual CTHS/HBPA Awards Celebration, to the backdrop of a poignant video interview, in which he talked about his favourite horses and the many friends he has made at Assiniboia Downs -- his “favourite track” and home-away-from-home for over 60 years.

Assiniboia Downs all-time leading trainer Gary Danelson Manitoba HBPA Award of Merit

Tribute interview with Assiniboia Downs all-time leading trainer Gary Danelson, who was honoured with the Manitoba HBPA Award of Merit in the spring of 2023. (Adam Smitzniuk / Assiniboia Downs)

There is a massive difference between a trainer who wins races with large numbers of horses that are better than their competition, and a horseman who coaches his horses to give their best every time they run. Danelson learned early in his career that spending time with his horses was a major key to success, and was always searching for the elusive key that would make his horses “want” to win.

At the age of 86, Danelson's career is winding down, but anyone who knows him will tell you that his passion for horses and determination to keep learning and improving have never waned. "Horses get into your heart, and you can't get them out," he said.

As the local legend heads into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, Danelson's influence and legacy in the racing world will continue on through the countless jockeys, owners, and fans he has inspired over the decades. As Assiniboia Downs CEO Darren Dunn once said, Danelson is the "godfather of trainers" at the Downs, and the kind of horseman people will remember forever.

Congratulations Mr. Danelson!

Trainer Gary Danelson with partner Bonnie McCrory in the Assiniboia Downs track kitchen in the spring of 2022. (George Williams)

Condition book #1 is now available. Click here or on the image above to download.

Date Night

Original painting by Tim Cox

"And sometimes if you're really lucky, you'll find out that your soulmate was disguised as your best friend the whole time." ~Unknown. See more original paintings from Tim Cox here.

Top NFL Picks by TravyFootball: Super Bowl LVIII Recap

Chiefs defeat Niners 25-22: *Sigh*…. Well, like I said a couple of weeks ago, to be the man, you got to beat the man, and after all was said and done, Patrick Mahomes proved once again that he IS, the man. 

San Fran took the opening kickoff and moved the ball down the field pretty easily considering how well the Chiefs defense had been playing as of late. Just when it looked like they would put seven points on the board early in the game, a costly and very unexpected fumble by Christian McCaffrey led to the Chiefs taking over. That was the first miscue for San Fran, with more to come. The next one came when Dre Greenlaw managed to tear his Achilles just running onto the field. At that point my heart just sank and the feeling of doom began to sink in. C'mon!

What are the chances of a devastating injury like that happening on the sideline and not during actual gameplay? As if that wasn't bad enough, a punt by the Chiefs somehow ended up hitting a 49er in the foot, which just caused all sorts of chaos and gave Kansas City great field position. When it rains, it pours....

The Niners came up with one of their best defensive efforts, as they pretty much smothered Mahomes and the Chiefs offense for almost the entire first half. After another stop by the defense to start the second half, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan, whose legacy might come down to his playing in these big-time moments in which he is now 0-3, decided to go pass heavy for some reason. I love my coach, but he definitely can be frustrating at times when he abandons what usually works for them.  

Patrick Mahomes did what Patrick Mahomes always does though, leading a masterful drive in overtime capped off with a touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman that sealed San Fran's bone crushing, heartbreaking, soul stealing, gut wrenching fate, and sent me home to wallow in a puddle of my own tears and sadness. 

Another NFL season is in the books, it might take a few days for my sadness to go away after this loss, but that's part of the ups and downs of being a diehard sports fan. I'll see you again in September! 

Last week: 0-1

Overall Playoff record: 7-2

Road to the Kentucky Derby

  • Risen Star (Fair Grounds) - Feb. 17 - 50 points
  • Sunland Derby (Sunland) - Feb. 18 - 20 points
  • Rebel (Oaklawn) - Feb. 24 - 50 points

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #4 - Friday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 18 - click here for list of horses and odds.

Looking for a Special Photo of Your Big Horse or...?

Track Photographer Jason Halstead may have just what you're looking for

Apprentice jockey and 2023 Sovereign Award nominee Fraser Aebly receives congrats from trainer Elton Dickey after winning the 5th race aboard Shootin Money on July 18 at ASD. (Jason Halstead / Assiniboia Photo)

Looking for that extra-special photo of your big horse, one you might not find in your win pictures? Track photographer Jason Halstead takes numerous photos during the races, and not all of them can make it into the win photos. If you’re looking for something frameable from your big race, or of your special horse, email Jason at [email protected]. Prices are excellent! Almost as good as his photos 😊

Wager on Top Tracks

Watch and wager on world class racing from the comfort of your private carrel in our race book located on the 2nd level of the grandstand. The race book is open daily at 10 a.m. Can't make it to the track? Visit one of our partner locations listed below or wager at Click here for a list of tracks to wager on during the month of February.

Carryover Watch
  • Gulfstream Park (Feb. 16) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $150,181
  • Golden Gate (Feb. 16) - Jackpot Pick 6 carryover $71,936

See all carryovers here.

Can't make it to the track to wager?

Watch and wager at one of our off-track betting locations:

"I Won Bigg" Wagering Group

Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (2nd floor plaza)

Join the "I Won Bigg" wagering group this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The wagering group is open to everyone. This week they will be playing Tampa and Santa Anita. $20 per share. If you would like more information please email Larry.

A Snapshot in Time
by Track Historian Bob Gates

More often than not our Snapshot in Time remembers a horse that is familiar to most. This week’s choice, perhaps not… Ten years ago, on May 4, 2014, Jumpin Jennie won the 21st running of the opening day Don Gray Memorial for owner Off 2 Win Stables and trainer Ardell Sayler. Be honest now, who remembers this mare? (Gerry Hart Photo)

2024 Risen Star Stakes Cheat Sheet

Remsen runner-up Sierra Leone listed at 4-1 in much anticipated return

Sierra Leone finished a game second beaten a nose by Dornoch in the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on December 2. (Jetta Vaughns / NYRA)

The $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds this Saturday, February 17 is the first prep race that offers 105 qualifying points for the 150th Kentucky Derby. As a result, the race has drawn a competitive 12-horse field that includes local star Track Phantom, who won both of Fair Grounds’ previous Derby points races. The field also includes highly regarded Remsen runner-up Sierra Leone, and an intriguing group of prospects shipping in from other tracks. More from America's Best Racing here.

Stronghold Heads to New Mexico for Sunland Park Derby

Runner-up in Los Alamitos Futurity and Bob Hope Stakes favoured at 5/2

Stronghold breaks his maiden at Churchill Downs. (Coady Photography)

Twice second in graded stakes behind a pair of Bob Baffert trainees in Southern California, Stronghold now travels to New Mexico to face seven rivals on Sunday, February 18 in the $400,000 Sunland Derby (G3). The Sunland Derby offers qualifying points toward the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill on a 20-10-6-4-2 scale to its top five finishers. The Sunland Derby has produced one Kentucky Derby winner through the years: Mine That Bird! More from the Blood Horse here.

No More Time Wires Field in Sam F. Davis

 Son of Not This Time earns 20 qualifying points for Kentucky Derby

No More Time wins the $200,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. (Tom Keyser)

Trainer Jose D’Angelo scratched No More Time out of the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park because he felt the horse needed a little more time to be at his best. He was right.

D’Angelo’s belief proved prophetic as No More Time put himself on the Kentucky Derby trail last Saturday with a front-running, 1 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. More from the Daily Racing Form here.

Kentucky Derby Rankings by Steve Haskin

The Road to the Derby, February 12, 2024 – Week 4

"Will we see a rising star in the Risen Star on Saturday? With the No. 1 spot up for grabs this week and so many horses who are ranked in the top 15 running in the Risen Star, something has to give, and we expect a whole new look in the Derby Rankings next week when it posts Tuesday." ~ Steve Haskin. Read more at here.

Best of Bob

by ASD Historian Bob Gates

We lost this week's honouree this past April. This man trained horses at Assiniboia Downs for 35 years, retiring from training in 2009 and leaving the business altogether in 2012. He had some really nice runners! Who remembers Frieda’s Blazer, Lord Little Rock and Cache Lake? Click here to learn the identity of the “little guy” who had pluck, a kind soul and a good heart (From August 18, 2021).  

Upcoming events at ASD

  • Break Open Bonanza - Draws for Break-Open tickets - Monday to Friday - more info
  • Lucky Spins - Draws for $20 in free VLT Spins - Friday to Sunday - more info
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, February 17 - more info
  • Doki-Doki - Saturday, February 24 - more info
  • Frost - Featuring Steve Aoki - Saturday, March 9 - more info
  • Player's Choice Handicapping Tournament - Saturday, March 16 - more info
We would love to hear from you! Email your comments and/or suggestions to [email protected].
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